Watering Can symbolising growth

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Tony Curtis – Alago Ltd

Tony Curtis came up with the idea for a heated sports glove about five years ago when his son came off the rugby pitch with blue hands. “I started working on ideas and arrived at something that I thought would work. I’ve worked on the gloves in my own time over the years. In September [...]

Tony Curtis came up with the idea for a heated sports glove about five years ago when his son came off the rugby pitch with blue hands. “I started working on ideas and arrived at something that I thought would work. I’ve worked on the gloves in my own time over the years. In September 2011 the contract for my job expired so I decided to work full time on the gloves.”

Tony first met the Outset Bristol team aboard the StartUp Britain Bus, which came to Bristol last August 2011 in the first leg of its summer tour.

“I had just left my job so was in need of advice and support to help me understand what I was letting myself in for,” says Tony.

With plans for his business already well progressed, Tony went straight onto Outset Bristol’s Business Start-up programme, receiving nearly 20 hours of support to help him start his business.

“The Outset programme was great in that it helped me solidify my ideas and confirmed to me the track I was on.”

Since registering Alago Ltd in January 2012, Tony’s new business has hit the ground running.

“We are a global start-up company. It was always my intention to launch the products across the world straight away, why wait? We produce heated sports and leisure gloves that give people the freedom to just get on with what they love.”

Tony has encountered many barriers on the way to setting up his business – including being turned town by the ‘Dragons’ Den’ entrepreneurs – but he recommends perseverance and keeping your eye on the goal in order to succeed in business.

“There have been many barriers to starting the business from creating a product that works, to funding the development and protection and the costs of finding manufacturers and sampling. I have been turned down by the Dragon’s, most banks and private lenders and have been forced to do all the jobs needed in creating the products, company and brand. Throughout all the difficulties and barriers though, you have to believe in what you are doing.

“Nothing is impossible if you are willing to put in the hard work and effort, to get up when you get knocked down and to keep putting one foot in front of the other to get to where you want to be. I have a plaque next to my desk that I have had for many years. It says ‘some people walk in the rain, others just get wet’. It is a quote from Roger Miller and it reminds me that no matter what you do in life you will be faced with difficulties. However, if you have a destination, a goal or a dream in focus, each step, through all the rain, will get you there.”

So what plans for the future?

“We have distributors and retailers set up to launch the gloves in September 2012 in the UK. We have a licensing deal through five countries in the EU and are speaking with several distributors in Canada. We aim to be the household name in heated gloves throughout the globe.

“We are also carrying out an R&D programme that will ensure we stay ahead in e-textile and smart material development. We have just won the ‘Guardian’ start-up company of the year award and are really showing the world what we can do.

“The most memorable bit of the Outset Bristol programme was meeting all the other people who were or wanted to start their own business. There are some great people hoping to make it themselves and more power to them.”

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